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Home: Surnames: Brousseau Family Genealogy Forum

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Peter Breusseau, trapper, Rossburn, MB
Posted by: Richard Carruthers-Zurowski Date: November 28, 2000 at 14:55:03
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In the 1891 census of Canada, Rossburn municipality, Marquette county, Manitoba, living in the household of Joseph Merritt and Lucretia his wife (née Wakefield) immigrants from Wisconsin to Manitoba in October 1888, is Peter Brusseau, born circa 1834-1835, uncle, unmarried, born in the U.S.A. of a U.S.-born father and a Quebec-born mother. His religion is given as Baptist.

In the 1901 Dominion census of the same area is Peter Breusseau, born 12 March 1835 in the U.S., immigrated to Canada in 1882, still a citizen of the U.S., of French ethnicity and recorded as a Methodist (his is living in the Ross household, a young married couple, who were Methodists, and seems to have been recorded as having the same religious affiliation of whoever was the head of the household. He was probably actually a Roman Catholic by baptism.

He seems to have been the maternal uncle of Lucretia Sabin Wakefield, wife of Joseph J. Merritt as the 1891 census data hints. The IGI entry for a brother of Lucretia, one Alvah Gilbert Wakefield reveals that Alvah's mother's maiden name was Brasseau, probably another variant of Brouseau, hence my identification of Peter Breusseau/Brusseau as being a maternal relation of Lucretia (née Wakefield) Merritt. The IGI does not reveal the full names of Alvah Wakefield, Lucretia's brother's parents, completely missing the father's name and recording only the surname of the mother (as Brasseau, as stated earlier). The 1850 U.S. federal census of Hopkinton, St Lawrence county, New York State, does include both Lucretia and Alvah in the household of Gilbert Wakefield, born circa 1792-1793 in Vermont, U.S.A., and his wife Mary, born circa 1824-1825 in Canada (probably Quebec). This would make the parents of Lucretia and Alvah Wakefield, Gilbert Wakefield and Mary Brasseau. This Mary would be the sister of the subject of this query, Peter Brusseau/Breusseau.

The Joseph and Lucretia (Wakefield) Merritt family migrated westward from New York State to Wisconsin after their marriage at Hopkinton, New York in 1866. Alvah Gilbert Wakefield, Lucretia's younger brother, moved to Manitoba directly from New York State (he was born in Parishville, St Lawrence county on 7 June 1849 according to the IGI entry for his birth, aforementioned in regard to his mother's surname), and seems to have been accompanied there by his maternal uncle Peter Brusseau/Breusseau, the subject of this post, whereas his mother Mary (née Brasseau or more likely Brousseau) was recorded in the household of her married daughter, Lucretia (née Wakefield) Merritt and the latter's husband Joseph J. Merritt in Wisconsin in the 1870 U.S. federal census as Mary C. Hancock, widowed mother-in-law. From this it would appear that the former Mary Brasseau (or Brousseau) was widowed from her husband Gilbert Wakefield sometime after the 1850 census of Hopkinton, NY and had remarried before 1870 to a man surnamed Hancock, who then died before the 1870 U.S. federal census of WI leaving Mary widowed for the second time as Mary C. Hancock. It seems quite likely that Mary's name was something like Marie-Catherine or Marie-Claire Brousseau and that her American-born younger brother Peter Brusseau/Breusseau was originally Pierre Brousseau. From the reports of their birthplaces it appears that Marie-C. Brousseau was born in 1824-1825 of a French-Canadian, though U.S.-born father, and a Quebec-born (probably French Canadian) mother, while her parents were living on the northern side of border between the U.S. and British North America, probably in Lower Canada's eastern townships, and that her younger brother was born over the border a few miles away from her birthplace on the Vermont side of the divide some ten years later on 12 March 1835. The movement of people across international frontiers in that region was a matter of considerable ease had led to the migration of francophone Roman Catholic Quebeckers from nearby present-day Quebec to Vermont well before the birth of either of these children, and in time for the births of their U.S.-born father and Quebec-born mother presumably around the turn of 19th century.

I would welcome any correspondence with anyone who can shed further light on the origins and family of these two anglicised Brousseau siblings and their antecedents and relations, including the Wakefield, Merritt and Hancock families. For further details of these latter parties, please click on my name above to get guidance to my genforum postings in the fora dedicated to these various surnames. In addition, I have posted to the Brazeau forum because the Brasseau rendition of the surname of Alvah Gilbert Wakefield's mother.

Merci d'avance de votre attention.

Thank you,

Richard


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